The long stretch of much-below-normal temperatures we experienced from late December to mid-January was also quite a dry period for most of central NC, with the Raleigh-Durham airport, for example, only recording 5 hundredths of an inch of rain during the first 15 days of this month, that falling back on January 8th.
Any trend toward drying out was brought to a rapid close this past weekend, though, as a complex frontal system and upper level disturbance brought widespread rain, embedded heavy showers and even a few thunderstorms to the region. The result was a total of 1.48 inches of rain at the airport, a lot of rain but not enough to match our record for the date of 1.75 inches in 1977. Across our area in general, rainfall amounts ranged in the one-half to two inch range.
The attached map shows rain totals across the state, and nicely illustrates how widespread the significant rain was. The medium to dark greens that cover most of the state represent radar and gage-based estimates in the 1-2 inch range, while there are places in the mountains, along the coast, and in a few small streaks in our area (Rocky Mount to Wilson, and Rockingham to Wadesboro or thereabouts) with yellow shading indicating more than two inches.
We have another system approaching that may produce substantial rain Thursday and Thursday night this week - while it is still early to have great confidence in amounts with that storm, it does look as if one-half to one inch totals may be well within reach. A shallow layer of cool air that will interact with the storm in the form of a back-door cold front (one that drifts in from the north or northeast in contrast to the more typical approach from the west or northwest) may also bring a sudden cooling to the area Thursday, a big departure from the very mild temperatures we've enjoyed since late last week.
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